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ICC Note: The recent drama over the detention of U.S. Korean War veteran Merrill Newman in North Korea and his subsequent release placed world attention on the dictatorial regime, however this was not enough to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, also an American citizen and imprisoned in the country since May. Kenneth is a “devout Christian” and was involved in missionary work when he was arrested by North Korean authorities. North Korea actively represses Christianity by routinely imprisoning entire families of believers and even executing those found to posses a Bible. 
12/16/2013 North Korea (CSW) – On 6 December, North Korea released 85-year-old American tourist and Korean war veteran, Merrill Newman, after detaining him for more than a week for allegedly plotting against Pyongyang. However, his compatriot and missionary, Kenneth Bae, 46, is still held captive at a labour camp.
Newman’s release came about a week after the state media claimed he had apologised for alleged crimes during the Korean War and for “hostile acts” against the state during a trip in October.
Newman had gone on a 10-day private tour of the country when just minutes before his plane was to depart for home, North Korean authorities took him away.
The ex-Army officer thanked American and Swedish diplomats who worked to secure his release and said he was tired and ready to be with his family.
The US State Department is again calling on North Korea to grant the same amnesty to Bae as a humanitarian gesture. US Vice President, Joe Biden, praised the release of Merrill while advocating for Bae, saying, “It’s a positive thing they have done, but they have Mr Bae, who has no reason being held in the North and should be released immediately and we are going to continue to demand his release as well.”
Added spokesperson for the White House National Security Counil, Caitlin Hayden, “Kenneth Bae has been in DPRK custody for over a year, and we continue to urge the DPRK authorities to grant him amnesty and immediate release.”
Bae is the longest-serving American detainee in North Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953. He was arrested in Rajin city on 3 November 2012. This was supposedly for plots against the government. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour.
Bae’s family, including his elderly mother, has pleaded for his release, and the State department had sent Ambassador Robert King, the president’s special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, to Pyongyang to negotiate his freedom. However, the North Korean government has so far refused to comply.

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